How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life

Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky. Other Press, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59051-507-5
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In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and a continued period of global economic unrest, the Skidelskys, a father-son team composed of University of Warwick emeritus professor of political economy Robert (Keynes: The Return of the Master) and Exeter University lecturer Edward (Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture), tackle age-old questions regarding the relationship between wealth, happiness, and satisfaction in this enlightening read. While the book’s scholarly tone and laborious construction may not appeal to the casual reader, the questions posed and the research and conclusions presented are timely, relevant, and thought provoking. The authors begin by disputing economist John Maynard Keynes’s 1930 prediction that as per capita income rose and basic needs were met, leisure and free time would increase. In fact, they point out, in modern times, though our income has risen, we work harder than ever, have less leisure than in previous eras, and have less happiness and satisfaction in our lives. The authors turn to historical fiction, philosophy, and political theory, drawing on Faust, Marx’s critique of capitalism, and Aristotle’s uses of wealth. Their conclusion that concepts like respect, friendship, and community are more likely to contribute to satisfaction and overall happiness than wealth makes for a fascinating, if cerebral, read. Agent: Peter Matson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2012
Release date: 06/19/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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